If you look at the girls’ race results for the Ohio Cardinal Conference meet you’ll see a lot of Lexington runners atop the list.
Lady Lex runner Dominique Clairmonte won the OCC meet with a time of 19:01 and all six Lexington runners finished in the top 11 places allowing them to cruise to the team title on Oct. 17 in Millersburg.
Michelle Hostettler of West Holmes was the only runner, other than a Lexington one, to finish in the top five. Hostettler’s time of 19:33 was good enough for second place, just 32 seconds behind Clairmonte.
Earlier this season Hostettler finished 1:05 behind the senior from Lexington, but closed that gap on her home turf on Saturday.
“She did really well,”said Hostettler’s coach at West Holmes, Kevin Beachy. “Coach Ewing and her set a goal to be 30 seconds behind Dominique (Clairmonte) at the conference meet. She crushed Lexington’s second pack just like Vinny (Defelice) did with the Wooster pack. Last race those girls were right on her tail.”
Beachy is referring to the three Lexington girls that finished third through fifth who Hostettler held off. Whitney Wendling, Abby Miller and Mackenna Curtis-Collins all tried to track down Hostettler, Wendling being the closest in third with a time of 19:52.
With just over a half of a mile to go, Hostettler was just 16 seconds behind Clairmonte. She felt that the game plan that here and the coaching staff came up with was a solid one.
“I had a strategy to start out slow and then go hard down the downhill,”said Hostettler.
Only two other runners, not from Lexington or named Hostettler, cracked the top 10. Wooster’s Tracy Morgan came in 10th with a time of 21:47 and Ashland’s Brooklyn Duewel was 6th, crossing at 20:48.
Overall the Lady Knights finished fourth in the team standings with 124 total team points. Lexington won with 20 points, Ashland and Wooster finished third and fourth each having 67 points. Rounding out the standings, Orrville was 5th (146), Clear Fork took 6th (160), Madison was 7th (195) and Mansfield Senior finished 8th (217).
West Holmes’ Erin Norman and Hannah Schlegel cracked the top 25 finishing 24th and 25th respectively. A gang of Lady Knights came in one-after-the-other in places 36th, 37th, and 38th. Megan Morrison was first in 36th followed by Hannah Clark in 37th and Alexis Hunter crossed in 38th.
While up front the entire race, Hostetler was focused on her position, but when she crossed she could be seen rooting on her teammates. Hostetler said that getting points for her teams is just as important as her individual placement.
“When I’m up front, I’m thinking about my place in the race and when I finish I’m thinking about how the rest of the team is doing,” said Hostettler.